Vedas Are Considered As Divine Knowledge
The term ‘Veda’ means knowledge. The source of all knowledge is God. The rishis heard – with a mind made one-pointed by meditation – the knowledge that issued from God in the form of sound. They imparted that knowledge to their disciples. Thus, the eternal truths that emerged from the Supreme, and which the rishis perceived, are what we mean by the Vedas. As the rishis had heard these truths and had imparted the knowledge to their disciples through words, the Vedas are known as shruti. The rishis who perceived the mantras are known as mantra-drashtas.
Vedas are the experience of the rishis, who realised the supreme Truth. If there was someone who witnessed a murder, the testimony of that witness is accepted as proof in a court of law, not the words of a thousand people who say that they did not witness the murder. Vedas are not the experience of just one rishi, but that of countless rishis who realised the truth. So let’s not negate the Vedas just because we have not experienced the truth. The intelligent one strives to walk the path the rishis have shown and tries to experience that eternal truth for oneself.
Vedas contain all the eternal truths relating to God and the universe. They are not the work of any individual, but eternal truths that emerged from the Supreme. Hence the Vedas are considered apaurusheya, impersonal. These Vedas are the root of all dharmas – laws of righteousness – and the basis of all scriptures and knowledge.
Vedic truths transmit goodness everywhere. The Vedas aim to uplift everyone spiritually and materially. There is no place for sectarianism in the Vedas. They contain principles that promote peace and contentment throughout the world. The message of the rishis is encapsulated by the mantra: ‘Lokah samastah sukhina bhavantu’ – ‘May all beings everywhere be happy’. The Vedas are not blindly accepted just because they are hailed as apaurusheya. On the contrary, it is because they uphold universal values such as truth, righteousness, austerity, compassion, love, sacrifice and non-violence that Hindus regard the Vedas as being of utmost sanctity and as the most authoritative scripture.
It is true that the Vedas are not easy to understand. However, one can understand the essence and import of the Vedas through the Upanishads. The Bhagwad Gita is a distillation of the quintessence of all the Upanishads. Rishis have illumined the essential principles of the Vedas in the Itihasas and Puranas through the use of stories and historical events so that ordinary people can understand those principles.
Over and above this, divine incarnations and mahatmas have been born in every age to interpret the Vedic principles according to the needs of the time. The advice of mahatmas is simple and easy for ordinary people to understand.
Vedas are as vast as the ocean. When seawater evaporates as a result of sunlight and falls as rain, it fulfils all the needs of people. In the same way, mahatmas, who abide in the truth, convey the essence of the Vedas in a way that ordinary people can understand easily and practise, and which is suited to the age in which they live. Therefore, for those who cannot understand the Vedas on their own, it is enough if they follow the teachings of a mahatma.